Community Christmas Store makes Christmas magic for families in need

The Roanoke Valley Community Christmas Store is heading into its 30th season

SALEM, Va. – Making the holidays magical for families in need is the mission of the Roanoke Valley Community Christmas Store.

President Angie Apgar has been a part of the store for almost all of its 30-year history - and said it never gets old.

“When our families come through, we just want to love on them. And we’re very thankful that we can be this part for them,” Apgar said.

Instead of handing out gifts to parents, they get to come in and shop for their children’s Christmas presents.

“If their child maybe likes red instead of yellow, they get to choose that. And it makes it exciting. We just like to do it in a more dignified manner for them,” Apgar said.

Around 350 families, or 850 individuals, were selected this year through an income-based application process.

The store is completely volunteer-based and runs on donations from the community - allowing parents to shop free of charge.

“So they don’t pay anything, but it is a shopping experience,” she said.

But the store isn’t just for kids’ toys. Clothes, personal hygiene items, and things for your home are all available for babies up through senior citizens.

“Some of our families that come through have never been in the situation they’re in right now. So they are a little embarrassed, or maybe just a little taken aback and they don’t know how to react. And we want them to feel comfortable,” she said.

Every family leaves the store with plenty of food.

“On our food aisle, they get to select several items from there. We get our food from several pantries serving Southwest Virginia. We also have a lot of churches and schools that participate,” she said.

While shopping applications are closed for this year, the Christmas Store is still looking for donations and volunteers.

A list of other need-based Christmas stores in the area can be found below:

About the Author:

Abbie Coleman officially joined the WSLS 10 News team in January 2023.